Friday, March 26, 2021

Update


 Where has the time gone! I am so busy with kids and work. When I took the teaching job it was supposed to be part-time. Well, then they added special education coordinator to the mix and it became full-time. Now it feel like full-time plus! I have added a lot of kids to my load in the weeks leading up to our break. Montessori is a great place for kids who are struggling with the regular education classroom. But now that they have gone Charter two year ago they are having to meet all the federal guidelines for special education. I am the only special education person in the school, first year teaching, during covid, learning virtual and mix. It has been crazy. Half the kids attend school and half are virtual. Benjamin has been going in person since July, it is a year round program.

I love teaching. I don't love all the paperwork! I have kids from K to 8th grade. I am responsible for all my own curriculum and all the paperwork. I have learned a lot! Always looking for resources for materials. I don't like to teach special education virtually! I just don't feel that it is as effective. However, it may just be me and my lack of experience in that area. Some days I feel as though I need a computer degree!

My husband is still working from home! I think that has made it possible for me to work. Sarah is home as well and finishing her last semester for her master degree. She helps with homeschooling Larissa. The school has asked (begged) me to come back next year. I have concerns since John will be back at work. However, it takes two years to finishing with licensing so I have decided that I will work next year to finish my licensing and then stop. It just takes too much time away from home where I need to be and homeschooling Larissa. She doesn't function in the morning so doing evening works but some days I am just tired. 

I have so many kids who do not enjoy writing. One day I decided to have them write a short story. I told them that I wanted them to write down the description of their main character and I would paint what they wrote. A few had to be sent back as there wasn't enough information to paint it. In the end they all did great on the descriptions. Some have finished their stories and some are still in the process. It has been a great little project and a lot of fun. The headmaster wants to have an art show and put out the art with their stories. I said I would only do that if there was kids art as well. Ha, guess who gets to go into each classroom and give a painting class. That is my project for April and May we will have an art show.





I was real picky, if it wasn't described it wasn't painted. One student had her teacher and parents thinking she couldn't write, she wrote me a very detailed description of her dragon and master and had it very well outlined! Her parents wanted a copy of her writing since they hadn't seen the level of level of legible writing she had done. No more slacking in class for her.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Neglect

 We are well, we are alive! I know I have neglected this site! I have a three week break coming up March 12th, I will update then! Promise








Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Halloween, fever

Benjamin woke up on Halloween Eve morning and came to me crying, asked me to check his temperature. He knew he had a fever and he did. His prescription for the steroids is literally one dose. I measured it out and it wasn't enough! I gave him the smaller dose and left for work. His fever didn't rise but it also didn't go away. I left work and got a full dosage four hours later. I brought it home and gave it to him. Thankfully within two hours he was fever free and running around.

We had plans for Halloween Eve to do trunk or treat at our church and normally he would have missed out. Instead he was able to go and have fun. His fever did not come back.

Since we were not able to go to the Renaissance Festival this year we did a medieval theme trunk or treat. It gave us an opportunity to use all the amazon boxes we have accumulated.

Hundreds of people showed up. I think that people just anted to get out. We wore gloves and masks.











On Halloween Benjamin went to a few of our neighbors where he received huge amounts of candy because we had no trick or treaters so they were trying to unload their candy.








Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fevers

 Since starting school Benjamin has had two of his fever episodes. These fevers typically last 5 days and at night go up past 105 in spite of using fever reducers around the clock. So, back to the doctor we went and she sent him to infectious diseases to see of they could figure it out. 



I was surprised that he didn't need any blood work. She said that our doctor did great on the blood work. I hadn't realized that she checked for mono, leukemia and other things. Now I know why she was so happy when his book work came out normal. However, we did do blood work when he was in the middle of a fever. In the bloodworm his SED rate was high but returned to normal after the fever left. Based on everything he was diagnosed with PFAPA. Yes, I had to go look it up and honestly I hope that is what he has. There isn't a test for it but on the next onset of a fever he will be given a steroid and it is supposed to stop the fever. If it works then that will be the plan of action. There isn't any way to prevent the fevers and he should outgrow them.



Now we wait for the next fever to see if steroids knock it out. I sure wouldn’t complain if another one never came!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

I'm Back

Sorry for disappearing! So much has been going on. I don't even know where to start. 

School has been crazy. I work with kids virtually and in person. All the IEP's are a mess, not much substance to them. Slowly I am redoing all of them. I find that I have a knack for writing them. My mentor says I have surpassed her abilities with them so I am on my own with them now. So many assessments to figure out where the kids are and what they are struggling in. I feel like I spend more time doing paperwork than working with the students.

I started the first day of school and have been having a huge learning curve. My certification is severe and multiple disabilities and this is a LD job. Learning the needs of my students and then trying to figure out what curriculum to use has been a challenge. They don't provide a specific curriculum, I have to find my own stuff. Then learning virtual teaching and what to use with that. Lovely year to decide to take a job.

Honestly, I don't know if I will go back next year. I feel like the Homefront is suffering with me being gone. At least Benjamin is at school with me all day. Sarah is helping with Larissa and we are doing year round so we can pace ourselves. However, Sarah has student teaching next semester so we will see how that goes!

My husband is still working from home. That has really helped with everything going on at home. He actually has taken kids to dental appointments, a new thing for him. He thinks he will go back within the next month. That will leave Sarah home, Anthony is going to school (too many girls at home) while Emma, Michelle and foster teen are doing school virtually.

So, I carry on wondering what I got myself into! If anyone has good online resources for reading and writing let me know! Math I have covered. Any suggestions for middle school spelling, I am open to ideas. That spelling is atrocious!

Benjamin is enjoying the Montessori school. He had his first project on Morocco and chose to do a painting of a mosque. He had his first standardized testing, he is in the 97% for math and 66% for language arts. Obviously he loves math. He doesn't like to write any more for the school than he did for me but he does love to spell correctly, thank goodness!





Continued in next post....



Friday, July 17, 2020

Job/School

Well, I did a crazy thing during the coronavirus pandemic, I got a job. Benjamin was accepted into the local Montessori school and while I was talking with them about my degree from USC, they told me that they needed a special education teacher. I told them that I had a degree in severe disabilities and they needed a LD teacher. They asked me to apply. I did. I got the job. Now I am in a panic, I need to take some classes in LD and have to learn a lot in a short period of time! I also need to learn how they teach in the Montessori way so that I can integrate the two, something the last teacher didn't do.

The job is part time which is good with me. They lost the room they were using last year to the nurse who needed a room for isolation. Looks like I will be using a conference room. I have no suppose and no ideas. I have been doing internet searches for Montessori special education so get some ideas. Anyone teach in a Montessori school? They went public two years ago and haven't really been able to get the special education program going well. All the IEP's need to be rewritten and so much to do. Oh, and they start school next Wednesday. I am not sure when I start as I am still in processing but I suspect it will be real soon.

I have had a bit of panic as I wonder if I have bitten off too much but I am also excited by the challenge. It is also such a strange time to be embarking on a new career! The folks here in SC don't seem to be doing a very good job on doing what they need to do to lower our virus count. So much fighting over a simple mask. Making something about freedoms and such just seems crazy to me.

School is a huge issue here. We have decided to let Benjamin go to classes. They seem to have a lot of safeguards in place and I will be there so I guess we will be or not be exposed together.  I feel that his age group will be more willing to adhere to the safeguards. However, I worry about my high schoolers. Our foster will be doing virtual school. She was bullied a lot last year and right before they went out of school she had one boy cough into his hand and then rub it on her. I can see that still happening. She is delighted that she can do school at home.

Larissa is starting high school this year and has already started her homeschooling. She is taking a virtual voice class with the local arts program and we are about to start her history and language arts. I am still looking at math. Next semester we will be doing science and computer. Anyone know of a good online computer class? We are somewhat doing year round and staggering classes. She needs a total of 24 credits and we are looking to do 6 credits a year. Oh, I forgot Spanish. Hmm, 7 per year. Benjamin will be learning Spanish this year and one of his teachers is from Peru. Tasha also has Vaida enrolled in a school where they learn Spanish. So now I need to find a Spanish program too.

Anthony says he wants to go to school so I will allow him to do that. He has no problems and is a germaphobe so I know he will stay away from people!

I am not sure what we will do with Emma and Michelle. They showed that they will not do the school work unless someone is constantly on them. They will either go to school where I am not sure if they will follow that safety guidelines or not or they will do the live virtual classes. We haven't decided yet.

Anyone else struggling? Sarah will be home this semester since Spain got cancelled. John is still working from home. I have a 4 year old foster child who needs 4K but I don't know what to do about that. All my kids have different needs. It is just crazy!  I want to get back to normal. I want to be excited for Benjamin started at the new school without feeling some level of concern. I want for my kids to all go to high school and do all the social things that high schoolers do. I want people to stop fighting each other because of different beliefs, I want to be able to go to the store and not feel this twinge when I walk in and then struggle because what I need to buy may be unavailable or the limits for purchases hamper me feeding my family. sigh, sorry for the rant. I know I have so much to be thankful for! But ugh!


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Kids update continued

Some updates are easy, typical life. Some are harder and more difficult when determining what to say.  Next kid is Michelle. She will be 15 later this month! Hard for me to believe that. We have been struggling for so long. We have been to two different therapists and I requested in school therapy right before the covid stopped schools. The lies continue. Hard to explain, she seems to enjoy putting her siblings down to elevate herself with others. Does that make sense? She exaggerates what she knows to appear knowledgeable. She says she doesn’t recognize when she embarrasses others because she doesn’t feel embarrassed. She gets on the bus and announces to everyone that out new placements are foster kids. She has done that after we have asked her to stop. Larissa didn’t go to youth at the church for a long time because Michelle would go up to her and say stuff to embarrass her.

We didn’t take her on the last cruise because of behaviors on the first cruise. Michelle acknowledges that none of the kids would talk with Larissa because of things she said. Larissa made friends on the last cruise that she still talks with today. She also doesn’t respect Sarah at all and she is the adult in the cabin. We hope to cruise next summer and she is on it but if a choice we’re to be made today she wouldn’t be going.

On a positive note, Larissa and our teen have a great relationship and Michelle has noticed that. Michelle wants that relationship. At first she tried to get it by taking advantage when the girls had a disagreement. She would tell each kid things to try and further separate them then try to get close to one of them. They finally saw that pattern and learned to fix their disagreements. As they got closer Michelle got more spiteful. It all came to a head and we had a long talk about it. Michelle admitted to so many of the things she had done and begged to be in a relationship with them. Larissa is trying but struggles. Years of pain from that relationship make it hard. But, there are bigger blocks of getting along and working together. Old habits are hard to break though so I often feel like a therapist as I try to help them navigate relationships with lots of hurt in the past. Regardless, it is nice to see Michelle want that relationship. She speaks to me of retreat for all that lost time. She says she wants to be like most of our grown kids, there for each other. She does have empathy and loves others, she just needs to learn how to apply it to help build positive relationships.